NCLM Southern City, Volume 72, Issue 3, 2022

SOUTHERN CITY QUARTER 3 2022 20 Q&A with Rep. Amos Quick So, what do we do to keep communities safe and not rely so much on law enforcement and that one-size-fits-all answer to the issues? That demands a further delving into the issues. So, we have a crime, and we have a person who has committed a crime, and that person must deal with the consequences of that. I’m certainly not saying we take away consequences, but we also delve into the data of the specific areas of our cities where this is more of a problem than other places. How do we fix that? And not just turn a blind eye and put some uniforms and some guns into these communities—and I’m talking about law enforcement. That just doesn’t work anymore. Not only are we losing people and property when you talk about murders and property crime, but there is tremendous brain-drain that we’re not tapping into. There are people in these communities who have some solutions and will tell us what could work. Speaking of community, we’re sitting in the church where you pastor, in a place where people similarly come for answers. How did you come to that? AQ: It’s truly a calling. The longer I’m in it, the more I realize it is absolutely a calling. It is not something for someone to choose. If you’re not called into it, it’s not what it looks like. We can talk about it in the same breath as dealing with the issues of our community. Every Sunday, as I look out over the congregation, there are people there in need of something. It could be a spiritual need, financial need, emotional need, relational need—they’re coming because they’re in need of something and the church has to be part of the solution for our wider community. Particularly the Black church. If you look at what the Black church has meant to this nation, colleges and universities have come out of the Black church, social safety nets have come out of the Black church. Then you look at church in general. The church has been a social safety net. We’ve fed people, we’ve clothed the naked, we’ve provided childcare for families. And so, the church has a part to play in the development of our communities, but it’s getting more difficult because the data says that fewer and fewer people are engaging with the church. Is there a natural bridge from there to your focus on elected office? AQ: I spent 12 years on the Guilford County Board of Education. And my initial run for office is because I was a youth development professional and was a chief administrator for the Boys & Girls Clubs and eventually CEO of all the Boys & Girls Clubs in Greensboro. And I just felt that there was a role that I could play in helping to develop youth, and so I ran for the school board. After being on the school board for 12 years, I realized there are some decisions that come down from the state level to the local level. Mandates that the school board has to function under, and they don’t necessarily match the reality that’s on the ground. So, I said I’d run for state House. But in running for state House—and I’ve absolutely enjoyed being there—some of the policies that I think would be effective have been enacted, educationally. But I think there’s more that could be done. And I think that being in the minority party, and being able only to yell and complain about the direction, I would absolutely love to be in the majority and have some of these ideas that I think would absolutely work, see how they play out in the education of our children. How do you convey your ideas and local government experience to fellow lawmakers who might come from different angles? AQ: Just never stop bringing it up. You just never have to stop pointing at your resume, almost. “I know something about this,” whereas you may know something about that, and I need to listen to you on that issue. For example, the environment; I’ve been educated on environmental concerns to a degree that I didn’t have when I first came there. But I know some things, too, particularly about local government and education and how decisions affect people at the local level. You just have to keep bringing it up. Let’s look at the actual implications of what the decision may be. You have to keep lifting your voice up. Never saying, “Well, it’s not going to happen.” Surrendering, almost. You never surrender. You continue to lift your voice. You continue to bring your ideas forward and recognize that because there’s a diversity of thought and opinion and intelligence at the General Assembly, my ideas can be tweaked into better ideas… The fearful thing that we all see happening in this state and in this nation right now is people are just making a determination based on political party or something that doesn’t allow for us to have the great intelligence of North Carolina play itself out. With my Republican colleagues, the one thing that I try to do is to listen to where they’re coming from and hear where they’re coming from. We can disagree all day. But I think that the main thing that we have to do is to keep in mind that we’re all trying to get to a certain place. We just disagree on the way to get there. But I think we’re losing that. I think that we’re not even trying to get to the same place anymore. I think that we’ve come to this place where “our idea is the best idea, and if you’re against our idea, then forget about you, we’re gonna run roughshod over you and your ideas and our idea is the only idea that gets championed.” You’re never going to win with that. What’s your personal background? Are you native to this area? AQ: I am. I grew up in Greensboro, I graduated from Dudley High School, I’m Guilford County born and bred… I love Greensboro. What does your connection to your community do for your style or views on public service? AQ: I think as the third largest city, Greensboro is often overlooked on the state level. And so, myself and our delegation, we try to make sure that, hey, don’t forget, we’ve got a lot of people living in Guilford County as well. So, let’s not forget about that. I also think the profile can be raised. We’re called the Gate City for a reason. You look at our major interstates in North Carolina: I-40 and I-85 come through Greensboro. We are the Gate City for a reason. And so, I’m a homer in that respect. And I want to see Greensboro’s profile be raised, because I believe it also raises the profile of the state, and what benefits Greensboro will benefit North Carolina. High Point as well. We’re sitting here in High Point, where I pastor. We’ve got the furniture market here. But that’s not all that’s in High Point. High Point has a great manufacturing tradition and history, and I’d like to see those jobs come back. If those jobs aren’t coming back, then we have a great opportunity to invest in the education and workforce training for the citizens of High Point. We have over 100,000 people living and working in High Point. Just think about continued from page 18